This fall there are eight constitutional amendments on the ballot for voters to decide, a slight decrease from the 11 amendments on the ballot in 2022. CABL has just released its analysis of the four amendments that voters will consider on October 14. We will be releasing information on the other four in advance of the November 18 ballot. As always, these amendments are something we believe voters need to pay attention to.
Four of this fall’s amendments generally deal with clean up, clarifications, or additions to existing constitutional language. Two deal with property tax changes, one touches on religious freedom, and another on elections.
It is interesting to note that five of the eight amendments up for consideration seek revisions to Article VII of the constitution which deals with state and local fiscal issues. That is hardly surprising since we see similar patterns year after year, especially with proposals to adjust and expand various property tax exemptions.
We should remember that ideally our constitution is the framing document that states our basic principles and outlines the powers and duties of the government. But reading through these amendments, it is easy to see how we have taken that notion much further, prescribing things in our foundational document that would more appropriately be placed in statute and decided by our elected leaders.
Be that as it may, almost every year voters are asked to approve a significant number of changes to the constitution and this year is no different. One thing to keep in mind is that in most cases these amendments are not as simple as they seem. There is a backstory, of sorts, to all of them and it soon becomes apparent that context is important. The ballot language is usually kept short and simple, but rarely does it tell you what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Once again CABL has analyzed the amendments and offered our thoughts and recommendations. But mostly, we hope voters will use this guide and other resources that are available to familiarize themselves with the issues before they cast their votes.
Changing our constitution is not something we should undertake lightly. If we make a mistake, it is often difficult to repair in short order. Nevertheless, deciding constitutional matters is one of our important responsibilities as citizens, and we hope voters will consider these proposals thoughtfully and make their voices heard.
Early voting begins September 30 and runs through October 7. Election Day is October 14.